Before you get too excited, Google is not looking to start its own search and for extraterrestrial life. The photo you see here is of a SETI array that happens to look much like what Google is seeking to build near its data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Rather than searching stars for signs of life, it appears Google wants to use its satellite array to receive content feeds from broadcast networks.
Google announced that it will begin laying fiber today in Kansas City as part of its plans to build out a new high-speed broadband network that aims to bring speeds 100 times faster than what Americans have today. Kansas City was picked out of more than 1,100 companies bidding to receive Google's fiber network.
Most of the active connections to this globe spanning network we all love to hate come in the form of cable or DSL. Modulated electric signals get transmitted over metal wires, coaxial or twisted pair respectively. These technologies transmit the internet as most experience it. Verizon has begun to break down this model with it's FiOS fiber optic lines, but they have been really slow to roll out. They've only managed to cover 10% of the households in the United States. AT&T isn't doing much better at getting Fiber to the people, U-Verse (where most AT&T fiber customers fall under) has even fewer subscribers than FiOS. Fiber-optics, while ten or a hundred times faster than the connection you're probably using, isn't available most places, yet. We wrote about Google's Fiber Project earlier today.
One of Google's more ambitious projects, the Google Fiber Project, seems to be hitting some small snags. While Google wanted to get everything up and running as quickly as possible, it looks like a few unforeseen variables have caused the teams taking part in the project to slow everything down, and even delay the selection process for cities that expressed interest in running the Fiber Project. With an announcement originally scheduled for the end of the year, Google has instead decided to wait a bit longer.
Apple has patented [pdf link] a combination MagSafe power connector and fiber optic docking system, that could allow future MacBook notebooks - as well as other devices using the same next-gen port - to access an external dock or port array and minimize the number of on-device connections. The concept is reminiscent of rumors earlier in the week suggesting Apple was looking to Intel's Light Peak technology for a future MacBook Pro refresh, taking advantage of the connection technology's ability to replace USB, ethernet, display and other cable types simultaneously.
There are untold numbers of people around the world who have lost the use of their limbs from accident or illness that have new hope of being able to use the limb again thanks to some cool research at SMU. A researcher named Marc Christensen has developed a new fiber optic nerve system that may one day allow for a functional link between the brain and an advanced prosthetic limb.
If you've got extra cable lying around, you might have the inclination to do something with it. But usually it only serves one purpose, so finding something else useful from the extra pieces isn't all that easy. Unless you're a designer, tasked with the job of creating something. And then we imagine that it may be pretty simple. This beautiful thing you see hanging above the immaculate dining room is a unique chandelier: it's manufactured from fiber optic cable and petri dishes.
Back in February Google announced that it was looking for communities that would be interested in participating with the search giant on a plan to introduce high-speed fiber optic networks into communities to deliver faster broadband speeds. Google was looking for communities that would be interested in being part of the pilot program.